The idea struck me this past summer to write a song about "Hammerin' Harmon." I call it "The Ballad of Harmon Killebrew." As a ballad it tells a story. I insert the word "boomers" in the first verse because the Twins came into existence as the wave of baby boomer children was really starting to have a presence.
"When boomers were young and we sought our fun. . .under that Bloomington sky."
I invite you to listen by clicking on the YouTube link below. The song was recorded in Nashville TN at the studio of Frank Michels. The singer is David Ward. Thanks guys.
I haven't visited Nashville since 1998. I miss it. I'd go straight to "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" on Broadway. Maybe some of that old songwriting genius could rub off on me there. Music created in Nashville is truly from the heart.
Jeff Arundel has written the best-known song about Harmon Killebrew to date. Jeff's song isn't just about Harmon, it's about father-son relationships and the maturation process. The best songs give us "sub-plots" like that. My song is a little more superficial and I don't mind. I really wanted to work in several names of the very early Twins players. I accomplished that, plus I gave special attention to the 1965 World Series which was the apex of the early Twins years.
Friends of mine might say "man, that happened so long ago, would anyone care?" I feel it's vital we always be reminded of that storied 1965 season, a season that may have become a little buried in our memories due to the accomplishments of the 1987 and 1991 teams. We all went gaga in '87 and '91, me included, but all that left me with a little sadness as I remembered the '65 team came up just shy of the world championship. We won three games in the World Series of '65. We lost to the Dodgers and their superstar pitcher Sandy Koufax in Game 7.
Sandy Koufax! I even inserted his name in my song, quite respectfully. The Dodgers' manager had to alter his pitching rotation for the Series because of Sandy having to observe a Jewish holiday!
How heartbreaking Game 7 was! But remember, '65 was the year that the storied New York Yankees' dynasty of that era died. The Twins had a lot to do with that. The key date was July 11. The Twins trailed by one run going into the bottom of the ninth against the Yankees. Killebrew hit a two-run home run for the win! It was like a knockout punch vs. those (damn) Yankees. Mickey Mantle was in the ranks.
My song talks about how "The Senators came" (to Minnesota) - indeed we were not a "new" team in 1961, we were a transplant! Calvin Griffith brought his struggling Washington Senators here. The franchise picked up steam upon coming to the Bloomington prairie. What heroes those early Twins were, in the eyes of the young "boomers," the kids who watched the Casey Jones TV show. Killebrew became an icon. I hope my song contributes something in terms of remembering him and the early Minnesota Twins, the chapter with Earl Battey, Zoilo Versalles and Vic Power!
Harmon has left this life. The chorus of my song ends with me pointing out that Harmon is now "out on that heavenly field" (playing baseball in heaven of course). I'm reminded of the 1951 movie "Angels in the Outfield."
Harmon was the first of four batters to hit a ball over the left field roof at Detroit's Tiger Stadium. He was like a god out of Green mythology.
Click on the link below to read a post I wrote not long after Harmon's death, called "The ball sailed off Harmon's bat." Thanks for reading, and listening.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org